Jewish World Review Sept. 5, 2001 / 16 Elul, 5761

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Virtual elegance? -- AN article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Ellen Askin, writing for Fairchild Publications, made an interesting point. Her thesis, if such we can call it, is that the dotcom revolution failed, and that the casual nature of the revolution was part of the reason for its failure, especially as symbolized by its clothing.

Well, certainly, a fashion sense governed by whatever free tee-shirts we gathered from a software convention in 1998 is a doomed fashion sense.

I thought the dotcom phenomenon was just another trend myself, but if it is in fact a failed revolution, I'm very pleased to have lived through it without injury to myself, friends, or family, none of whom had much to do with the darn thing in the first place.

Further, I claim that this failure is not necessarily the result of casual workwear, but certainly casual workware is and should be a casualty of that failure. Gap's stock has plummeted. GQ is crossing its fingers. Ms. Askin asks, "Could this be the return of the elegant man? The type reminiscent of silver movie actors, the likes of Cary Grant and Gary Cooper?"

Okay, sure, why not? Wilkes Bashford is also holding its breath. Supposedly, "... five years ago french-cuff shirts accounted for barely 2 percent of his business, that segment is now up to 15 percent." In other words, we are getting back to where we once belonged. Neckties, blazers, the well-cut suit. So much for virtual reality.

Well, I take that back. Virtual reality is great, just as long as it's backed up by the virtual reality of a public appearance. Speaking personally, I know it's all bull, but if it means the end of Banana Republic, diet sodas, and b 2 b scalable solutions, well, by golly, I'm behind you one hundred per cent. Unless money is involved, of course.

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales